RAC European Breakdown Cover

Breaking down is the last thing you want when driving abroad. But with RAC European Breakdown Cover, help is at hand when you need it most. Our 24/7 English-speaking helpline makes it easy to get help quickly. And we’re the only European breakdown cover provider to include unlimited roadside assistance, and a contribution towards garage labour costs, as standard. Plus, with our Comprehensive Plus cover, you’ll have the best cover in the market*, making your holiday memorable for the right reasons!

24/7 English-speaking helpline

Speak to an experienced case handler to manage your breakdown

Unlimited roadside assistance in Europe

Only the RAC covers all costs to get you to a garage – so you won’t have to shell out extra

Repatriation costs included

Can’t drive your vehicle back to the UK? We’ll cover the market value of your car to return it5

Choose your level of European breakdown cover


From £7**

Unlimited roadside assistance in Europe
We’ll pay up to £150 garage labour costs2
Up to £500 accommodation expenses or up to £1,500 to continue your journey
We’ll pay up to the market value of your vehicle to get it back to the UK, providing your vehicle is not beyond economical repair
UK roadside assistance up to the value of £300, 48 hours before your departure date
24/7 English-speaking helpline

BEST cover*

Comprehensive Plus

From £9**

Unlimited roadside assistance in Europe
We’ll pay up to £1,000 garage labour costs1
Up to £1,200 accommodation expenses and up to £3,000 to continue your journey
We’ll pay to get your vehicle back to the UK if it can’t be fixed, providing your vehicle is not beyond economical repair
Unlimited UK roadside assistance, 7 days before your departure date3
Replacement tickets if you miss your pre-booked train or ferry^^
24/7 English-speaking helpline

What is European breakdown cover?

European breakdown cover means you’re protected if you break down in Europe. You can call an English-speaking helpline, who will arrange roadside assistance. If your vehicle can't be fixed at the roadside, we'll arrange for it to be taken to a local garage where repairs can be assessed. If it can’t be repaired before you go back to the UK, we’ll help get you, your passengers, and your vehicle back home. 

European breakdown cover isn’t a legal requirement. But it can save you stress, time and money if you break down while you’re away. For example, you’ll be covered for some or all costs for roadside assistance and garage labour, depending on the cover level you pick.

Read more about driving abroad and why you should take out European breakdown cover before travelling.

Why do I need European breakdown cover?

Car issues can be problematic at the best of times, but the situation can feel much worse when you're far away from home. If you're driving outside the UK, you need to be covered for specific European vehicle breakdown, so that you can benefit from European roadside assistance and roadside recovery.

We provide European breakdown cover for many types of vehicles when travelling abroad. As well as cover for cars, vans and minibuses, we also offer:

  •  Motorhome European breakdown cover
  •  Motorcycle European breakdown cover
  •  Caravan European breakdown cover

European breakdown cover provides you with complete peace of mind if your vehicle breaks down in Europe. With both levels of cover available, we offer unlimited roadside assistance if you call us to attend your vehicle. If your vehicle isn’t able to be repaired at the side of the road, it will be recovered to a garage to be looked at. Depending on the level of cover you’ve taken out, we’ll cover any garage labour costs, either up to £150 (Comprehensive) or £1,000 (Comprehensive Plus).

Even if you have UK breakdown cover in place, you shouldn't just assume that your vehicle has the same level of cover abroad as at home. If you're planning on driving in Europe - taking a holiday in France or Spain, for example - you should make sure you have cover. If not, it's time to start looking up European breakdown policies.

What’s included in RAC European Breakdown Cover?

Exactly what and how much you’re covered for depends on the level of cover you choose. With the RAC, you’ll always have access to our 24/7 English-speaking helpline – so you know you won’t be left stranded and help is only a phone call away.

Here’s what else you can get with the RAC:

  •  European roadside assistance and recovery. 
  • We'll arrange for a local garage to come out to you and inspect your vehicle – they’ll repair it at the roadside or recover it to the garage for repair.

  •  Contribution to garage labour costs. 
  • With Comprehensive, you’ll get up to £150. Or up to £1,000 with Comprehensive Plus.

  •  Alternative travel or accommodation. 
  • If your vehicle’s in the garage, you can have a hire car or hotel while it’s being fixed.

  •  Getting you and your vehicle back to the UK.
  •  Also known as ‘repatriation’, we can help get you and your vehicle back home if it can’t be fixed before you travel back to the UK.

  •  Cover before your departure. 
  • If you break down in the UK and can’t be fixed before you’re due to leave, you can have a hire car to continue your trip to Europe.

Do I need single trip or annual cover?

We offer two different types of cover: single trip and annual cover. The right policy for you depends on how often you drive through Europe each year, and how long your trips are.

Single trip European cover
  • Single trip European breakdown cover protects you during a single return trip to Europe.

  • You can buy cover for a trip lasting from one day up to 180 days.

  • It’s ideal if you only plan to drive to Europe once or twice a year, as it works out cheaper than an annual policy.

  • Cover for cars, motorcycles, motorhomes, and caravans.

Annual European cover
  • Annual European breakdown cover protects you for unlimited trips to Europe during the year.

  • For each trip, you’re covered for up to 90 days. If you’re going for longer than this, you’ll need to buy single trip cover.

  • This type of cover is ideal if you regularly drive to Europe. If you travel more than twice a year to Europe, it’s likely to work out cheaper than buying single trip cover each time.

  • Cover for cars, motorcycles, motorhomes, and caravans.

How much does European breakdown cover cost?

How much you’ll pay for your European cover can depend on:

  • Your level of cover: We offer 2 levels of cover: Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus. The higher the level of cover, the more protection you’ll have, and the more it will cost. 
  • How long you’re away for: Single trips costs less than annual cover4. But if you’re a regular driver in mainland Europe, annual cover can save you money in the long run.
  • Where you’re going: We’ve split countries into 3 zones and how much your cover costs depends on which zone (or zones) you’re driving in.
  • Your vehicle: The age, make and model of your vehicle can affect the cost of your cover, but we do offer European breakdown cover for older cars.

Why the RAC offers the best European breakdown cover on the market*

We're the only provider to cover all costs for roadside assistance in Europe.

You'll get a hire car and accommodation while your vehicle's being repaired – and we give you more to spend on both than anyone else.

We're the only provider to cover all costs to get your vehicle back home (as long as it's not beyond economical repair).

Essential driving to Europe checklist and the impact of Brexit


From 1 January 2021, you should make sure you have the following items before travelling to Europe:

  • Vehicle log book (V5C). This shows that you’re the registered keeper. If we need to bring your broken down vehicle home, we won’t be able to do this without a copy of your vehicle log book. If you’re driving a hired or leased vehicle, you need the VE103 to show you’re allowed to use it abroad.

  • UK sticker. Display a UK sticker on the rear of your vehicle, even if the number plate has the EU symbol. This is not needed in the Republic of Ireland. GB stickers and identifiers are no longer valid.

  • International Driving Permit (IDP). If you don’t have a photocard driving licence, you’ll need to get an international driving permit. You can get one from the Post Office at a cost of £5.50. You may need more than one type depending on which countries you’re driving through. Find out more here.

  • Trailer registration. Some commercial and non-commercial trailers must be registered before towing to or through most EU and EEA countries. If you plan to take out European caravan breakdown cover then it’s important to check your trailer before travelling. Find out more.

  • Insurance green cards are no longer required for UK motorists driving in the EU.

Read more about driving in the EU post-Brexit

What countries are covered by RAC European Breakdown Cover?

The RAC offers European breakdown cover in up to 49 countries across mainland Europe. These countries are split into Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3, so you can easily select the right cover for you and your trip. This includes, FranceSpainItalyGermany, Portugal and Belgium, as well as the Republic of Ireland

We also cover a range of other countries, including Albania, Armenia, Gibraltar, Moldova, Macedonia, Serbia and many more.

Zone 1 (includes France & Germany)

We also cover the offshore islands of all the countries within this zone.

Show countries on a map


Zone 2 (includes Spain & Italy)

We also cover the offshore islands of the countries within this zone, with the exception of Ceuta, Melilla or the Canary Islands (Spanish off-shore Islands).

Show countries on a map


What happens if you break down without European cover?

If you break down without European cover, you’ll need to find a recovery company to tow you, and a garage you can trust to fix your car. This can be tricky, especially if you don’t know the area and you don’t speak the language. You’ll also have to cover all recovery, labour and repair costs yourself.

If your vehicle can’t be fixed before you’re due to travel back to the UK, you’ll also need to cover the cost of getting you and your vehicle back home. And the further away from home you are, the more this will cost.


What to do if you break down in Europe

If your vehicle breaks down when you’re travelling in Europe, there’s no need to panic:

  • Pull over safely. Make sure you’re away from traffic or on the hard shoulder.
  • Get out of your vehicle. Keep a safe distance from moving traffic.
  • Call for assistance. Tell us your location and we’ll talk you through what happens next.


Q. What level of European breakdown cover do I need?

It depends how often you travel to Europe. If you make several trips to Europe during a year, then you may wish to consider an Annual Comprehensive or Comprehensive Plus cover. However, if you're planning just one or two trips, then you may wish to consider either our Single trip Comprehensive or Comprehensive Plus cover.

Q. Does the RAC offer cheaper European breakdown cover?

The RAC offer flexible options to suit your budget. ‘Comprehensive’ is our cheapest level of cover. It starts from just £7 for 1 day of cover**. The longer you go away for, the more your cover will cost. The price of your cover will also vary depending on how old your car is.

It’s worth knowing that single trip cover is cheaper than annual cover, as it only covers you for a one-off trip abroad. But if you travel to Europe regularly, annual cover can provide better value for money.

Q. Can I get one-off cover for a family holiday?

Yes, as cover is available on a single trip basis as well as annually. The RAC has two different policies, so you can compare European breakdown cover across these variations. Comprehensive is from £7 and the price of Comprehensive Plus begins at £9. Our RAC Comprehensive Plus policy has a Defaqto 5-Star rating, and includes garage labour costs up to £1,000 and unlimited emergency European roadside assistance and repair.

Q. Will European breakdown cover help to get my car back to the UK?

If required, our European breakdown policies can help to get your car safely back to the UK - or repatriation, in other words. Again, there are different levels of cover depending on your policy. Comprehensive has vehicle repatriation cover up to the market value of the insured vehicle, and Comprehensive Plus has unlimited cover. This is providing your vehicle is not beyond economical repair.

Q. What vehicles are eligible for European breakdown cover?

We cover all kinds of vehicles, of any age.

This includes caravan, motorhome and motorcycle European breakdown cover (motorcycles 49cc and over), alongside cars, minivans, campervans, light vans and minibuses (with no more than 17 seats including the driver) – as long as they meet certain criteria.

Any vehicle you want to cover must be:

  • a private vehicle (not a commercial vehicle)
  • permanently registered in the UK, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man
  • no bigger than 7 m long, 3 m high and 2.55 m wide (all including any carried load)
  • a maximum legal laden weight of 3,500 kg (3.5 tonnes). This weight is called the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)

If you require caravan or motorhome European breakdown cover over the limits shown above, you’ll need RAC Arrival.

Please read our terms and conditions for full details.

Q. Does my standard RAC Breakdown Cover policy cover me in Europe?

No. If you haven’t added European breakdown cover to your policy, your standard RAC Breakdown Cover policy will only cover you in the UK.

If you’re unsure, it’s worth checking your policy documents to see exactly what’s included in your cover. You can also log in to MyRAC to check your cover.

Q. Does European breakdown cover include the UK?

With both Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus, you’ll have pre-departure cover in the UK before you leave for Europe. This means you can get roadside assistance before your trip and a hire car to get to Europe if needed.

What you’re covered for depends on the level of cover you choose:

  • Comprehensive: You’ll have roadside assistance in the UK up to 2 days before you’re due to leave the UK and a hire car for 6 days.
  • Comprehensive Plus: You’ll have roadside assistance in the UK up to 7 days before you’re due to leave the UK and a hire car for 23 days.

Q. Can I get help if I break down abroad without European breakdown cover?

If you break down abroad but you don’t have European breakdown cover, unfortunately we won’t be able to help you get back on the road. That’s why it’s important to get it sorted before you leave the UK.

Instead of calling us for help, you’ll need to make your own arrangements. For example, you’ll need to find a local recovery company to rescue you, as well as a garage you can trust to fix your vehicle. You’ll also have to recover all these costs yourself.

Q. Can I get short-term car insurance to cover me for my trip?

Yes you can – RAC Temporary Car Insurance offers short-term insurance policies for trips of up to 30 days for cars, vans and motorhomes and allows you to extend this to cover driving in Europe - perfect if you’re borrowing a vehicle or sharing the drive and need comprehensive cover in place. Choose from between 1 hour and 30 days of cover, and you’ll be covered to drive almost instantly.

Find out more about this type of cover.

Q. Will my car insurance policy cover me for driving in Europe?

Some car insurance policies will cover you for a number of days driving in Europe, but it depends on your insurance provider. You should always check your car insurance policy documents before starting any trip to ensure you have the right cover in place.

You could choose to purchase a comprehensive short-term insurance policy and add additional European cover. Tailor your policy for up to 30 days of cover, purchase online, and you’ll be covered to drive almost instantly.

Read more about our Temporary Car Insurance.

Q. Is it worth getting European breakdown cover?

Having European breakdown cover means you won’t be left stranded if your car breaks down abroad. We can repair your vehicle at the side of the road, or help you find a local garage if needed. If you don't have cover, you may find it more difficult to get help if you have car trouble while you're away.

Things you need to know when travelling in Europe

There are a number of requirements that you may not be aware of when driving in Europe, so we’ve created article on all the things you need to remember to take with you in a handy checklist with 20 top tips to help you be prepared before you depart on your trip. 


Driving post Brexit

Everything you need to know about driving in the EU post Brexit.

16th Dec 2020


Driving in Europe checklist

This essential checklist will tell you everything you need to know for driving in Europe, from what to take with you to things to remember when you get there.

3rd Jan 2020


10 lesser-known French road rules

To help you out, here’s an overview of the quirkier French motoring rules you might not know about.

29th July 2019

More reasons to choose the RAC

We have been helping motorists in Europe for over 120 years so we know how stressful it can be when your car breaks down. It can be even worse when it's in a different country where you may not be able to speak the language. But don't worry, we're here to help.
Experienced case handlers to manage your breakdown from start to finish
You'll only pay for repairs you need thanks to our technical experts
In France, we can get to you in just 43 minuteson average 
56% of all breakdowns in Europe are dealt with on the same day
93% of all breakdowns in France attended within 60 minutes
We repair 55% of all breakdowns at the roadside in France

Trustpilot logo

What our members say